Saturday, 14 February 2015

Fifty shades of fantasy, feminism and films.

Since everyone has an opinion about Fifty Shades of Grey, both the book and the movie, I decided to weigh in on the controversy and voice my thoughts about it. My own journey in writing erotic books actually began with E. L. James' success and I think it's time that I acknowledged that and the author herself for introducing the wonderful world of kink to the mainstream.

In 2012, I was alerted to these books that were rocketing up the bestseller lists and sparking debates on TV shows and forums because of their subject, BDSM. I raced out and bought them, excited and jealous that someone else had brought this book to world. I'd been writing stories and poetry about this subject for years, to satiate my own forty year interest in kinky sex. In one day I had read all three parts of this trilogy and sighed dejectedly.

I didn't like the writing or the plot or most of the characters. I did like Christian Grey and was just sorry he met up with Anastasia Steel. That boy could have been interesting, but like Sam Taylor-Johnson did with the movie, Ana managed to neuter him. So, I raved and rambled to anyone who would listen to me about all the reasons these books were wrong.

1. Bad representation of BDSM in that it implied that a person has to have some deep seated troubled past to have an interest in domination and submission, oh, and spanking of course. Wrong! Anyone who has known people that live this lifestyle would know they are the same as anyone else, some with problems, some without who have lived incredibly happy normal lives while indulging in a some kinky antics that are part of their sexuality. 

2. The plot was pretty bad, and please don't get me started on the Inner Goddess.

Okay, so that's my main gripes, but Ms James did it and I was so jealous I was angry enough to write my own kinky book and publish it. There, take that Ms James, but actually, thank you Ms James for giving me the kick up the proverbial that I needed to do it. Now four books later, I'm living the dream writing full time and making a modest living from my books. Again, thank you Ms James.

Now we come to the whole matter of this film and its 'abusive nature toward women' Well, I agree. You did abuse us, Ms Taylor-Johnson. We wanted lots of sex, plenty of spankings and at least the casting of an actor that was something remotely like Christian Grey, not the weedy little boy next door that really does come across as just creepy.

Oh, the film. Yes definitely, the whole dubious consent, the stalker behaviour and domineering manipulation. Let's face it. If Christian Grey had been short, bald and overweight, Ana would have taken out a restraining order on him. What's that? Oh, it's a fictional film. I was beginning to think this was real the way everyone was carrying on about it. Now I'm worried. I loved the film Silence of the Lambs. Does that mean I support sick serial killers? Loved the Die Hard movies, maybe not the last one, but does that mean I support terrorism? Just on Anthony Hopkin's role as Hannibal Lector, shouldn't we have despised him and boycotted this movie that kind of made a deranged psychopath into an ante-hero.

Spoiler alert - Christian Grey eventually gets neutered by the girl and becomes a boring, politically correct man who has learnt the evils of his ways, because this is what every woman wants to fantasize about. Yeah right.

Sorry, but women's fantasies have never been politically correct and often border on abusive behaviour, that they would never condone in real life. That's why bodice rippers sell. Fifty Shades is just fantasy on screen and book and if it's going to influence your thinking and behaviour, then you're already in trouble. You girls and Johnny Depp, are you really planning to leave your loved on and run off with him? Okay, don't answer that some of you. Come on girls, we've let men tell us what to do for centuries. Are we really going to let women take over now and tell us what to think, what to watch and how we should be feeling about it? Do they really believe we are that ignorant of the very real abuse and violence that has been inflicted on women for centuries?

I remember the year I took my elderly mother to see Basic Instinct. Now if Mum was still alive she would be 99 years old this year. Greatest woman who ever lived and I just remember her roaring with laughter in the cinema when Sharon Stone did the leggy thing. Sex was just part of life. My mother ruled our home and raised me to take crap from no-one, man or woman, while she lived a lifestyle that would have made feminists throw up everywhere. She liked to bake and keep her house clean (she ironed our underwear) and she liked to be pretty and loved her man and let him believe that he was the head of the house. We knew otherwise. Dad worshiped her and when she grew sick, he cared for her day and night before he passed away. She loved the movies with a bit of bodice ripping and politically incorrect situations between the men and women. I grew up in a virtual 50's housewife lifestyle, with no car, no phone, lots of books and one of the strongest feminists I have ever known.

It seems to me that we don't need men now to tell us how to think, what to watch, how to feel about it, because we now have women who tell us all that now, in their far superior wisdom. Feminism in a nutshell: I'm a woman who cares enough about myself to make up my own mind, get educated, have an opinion and won't allow anyone to treat me badly.